Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Owners of unlicensed shared housing fined £30,000 for fire safety breaches

Thursday, 2 September 2021

The owners and manager of an unlicensed shared housing property have been issued with fines totalling £30,000, for putting the safety of their tenants at risk.

It follows our investigation which discovered that accommodation above a restaurant in Deadman’s Cross near Shefford was operating as an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO), where tenants were living in dangerous conditions.

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property that has more than one household living in it and sharing the toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities; read more about HMOs.

The intervention from our officers resulted in the owners being ordered to remove fire safety risks and improve the living conditions for the tenants. The owners and managing agent were also required to apply for a HMO licence.

They received fines for failing to licence the property and breaching the HMO management regulations, by failing to ensure fire safety measures were in place.

Councillor Ghent, our Executive Member for Housing and Assets, said:

We know that most private rented sector landlords provide decent and well managed accommodation, but there are a small number of landlords and property agents who knowingly flout their obligations and rent out accommodation that is unlicenced or unsafe.

We want people to understand that landlords of HMOs who fail to apply for a licence will be committing an offence which may result in a large fine, or even in a prosecution.

It has been a legal requirement to licence all HMO privately rented properties with five or more occupants since 1 October 2018. Property owners found to be operating without a license could face a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

If you believe your rental property may be a HMO, and you have concerns about your living conditions, please email psh@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.